Monday, July 03, 2006

What's the point?

The link under the title is to a short biography of Franz Rosenzweig, the famous Jewish philosopher. At the end of his life he was working with Martin Buber on the translation of the Hebrew Bible, and since he was suffering from a condition which largely paralyzed him, so that he could no longer speak, he would type out his comments for Buber, who came to visit once a week, and here is how the above article reports his last letter, which Buber found stuck in the typewriter on his last visit whe Rosenzweig had expired just before Buber arrived:

When Rosenzweig died on December 10, 1929, they had reached Isaiah 53, the fourth song of the servant of God.

Daily, Rosenzweig had written and received letters. He did not finish his last letter: "… and now it comes, the point of all points, which the Lord really gave me in my sleep: the points of all points, for which it …". Here broke the thread of his life.

In German it goes this way: "Und jetzt kommt die Pointe aller Pointen, die mir der Herr im Schlaf verliehen hat."

In a way the story reminds me of the telling by Kenneth Wapnick, in Absence from Felicity, the story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course In Miracles, of Helen's Final months and Requiem (Chapter 18). Some way, some how an ending beyond comprehension in indescribable peace.

On another level it also reminds me of the way Mary Magdalen seems to fade out of history at the end of the account in Mark, even though evidently she perhaps more than anyone "got" the resurrection, and the "point" of Jesus' life. And yet her story seemingly got trampled under foot and largely lost in the subsequent to do that led ultimately to the founding of Christianity. As we now more and more realize, since the victors write history, what we know as Christianity today has less to do with the teachings  of Jesus than it has to do with who won, and that was who made the most noise, and those were the factions which ultimately rendered Christianity suitable in the service of Caesar, at the time of the Emperor Constantine.

But the message of the Resurrection is not lost by that and quietly countless seekers found
Jesus in their lives over time in spite of it all, and now we live in a time when both many documents that were once suppressed have resurfaced, starting as early as the pre-renaissance with Marsilio Ficino and others, the re-discovery of Platonism, and the renewed glimmers of gnostic literature in the form of the Corpus Hermeticum. This picks up speed with the discovery of various "apocryphal" fragments of new testament literature from the late 19th century onwards, and with the finds of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Nag Hammadi all the way up to the recent re-disovery of the Gospel of Judas, there is now a growing unease with accepted Christian doctrine as highlighted both by the success of the book The Da Vinci Code,  as by the intensity of the Church's reaction to it.

A Course In Miracles provides the modern corollary, which makes it easier once again to make out Jesus' teachings from the din of history, and from the religion founded in his name by others. The Disappearance of the Universe completes that picture by bridging the tradition from The Gospel of Thomas to A Course in Miracles. And for all the racket and noise of this whole universe, the implication is that in the end the disappearance of that universe is a quiet affair, when the thought system of sin, guilt and fear that sustains it is given up, or as the Course some what humorously asks in the Manual for Teachers: "How many teachers of God are needed to save the world?" and answers:

The answer to this question is–one. 2 One wholly perfect teacher, whose learning is complete, suffices. 3 This one, sanctified and redeemed, becomes the Self Who is the Son of God. 4 He who was always wholly spirit now no longer sees himself as a body, or even as in a body. 5 Therefore he is limitless. 6 And being limitless, his thoughts are joined with God's forever and ever. 7 His perception of himself is based upon God's Judgment, not his own. 8 Thus does he share God's Will, and bring His Thoughts to still deluded minds. 9 He is forever one, because he is as God created him. 10 He has accepted Christ, and he is saved.
unquote (ACIM:M-12.1)

Copyright, © 2006 Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.

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